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CSIR and BITRI to collaborate on dynamic spectrum access research

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) have signed an agreement which will see the two entities working together on dynamic spectrum access research.

Spectrum refers to the airwaves over which all wireless communication devices communicate.

Contact Person

Tendani Tsedu

+27 (0) 12 841 3417

mtsedu@csir.co.za

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) have signed an agreement which will see the two entities working together on dynamic spectrum access research.

Spectrum refers to the airwaves over which all wireless communication devices communicate.

“Currently, spectrum management uses what is referred to as static licensing regimes, meaning that spectrum is licensed for a fixed period to a primary user. Dynamic spectrum access proposes that this available spectrum be shared either by accommodating different types of uses or by accommodating multiple user groups,” says Moshe Masonta, senior researcher for wireless computing and networking research at the CSIR.

BITRI is interested in building its own Television White Spaces (TVWS) experimental network, as well as building Botswana’s own national geo-location database and has requested the CSIR to assist with the design and deployment of Botswana’s TVWS network test-bed. It is this network that will be used by the two entities for long-term collaborative research on dynamic spectrum access and sharing on the TV-band frequencies.

TVWS technology is promoted as a mechanism to achieve rural broadband using automated, but managed spectrum allocation for secondary, low power communication in the TV bands. This provides for better propagation characteristics than in the GHz frequency bands. TVWS can be used for alternative wireless communication services.

Five schools and two clinics in Gaborone, Botswana have been identified as the TVWS trial sites for the research project.

“The reason we have chosen schools is that they are centres of innovation and they will also benefit from having high-speed internet connections, which aid e-learning. The research will also help formulate regulations and policies around TVWS utilisation in the country,” says Dr Ephraim Gower, BITRI’s TV White Space project manager.

The CSIR has had a similar project in Cape Town where 10 schools were connected to fast internet through TVWS. Another collaborative project of this kind exists between the CSIR and the Ghana Technology University College (GTUC) where six schools will be connected through TVWS in Accra.

Current research on the dynamic spectrum access has focused on the unused spectrum between television channels. Television broadcasters leave ‘white spaces’ to avoid interference in adjacent channels. In this regard, the CSIR has expertise in building networks using TVWS, without interfering in any way with adjacent channels.

“There is high demand for spectrum below 5 GHz band, especially in developing countries where there is a challenge to connect over one billion people. Through our long-term collaborative RDI agreement, BITRI will be able to use the intellectual property on aspects of the CSIR’s geo-location spectrum database to do further research on dynamic spectrum allocation for broadband access,” says Masonta.

The CSIR will also deliver a capacity-building workshop, which will be held in Botswana later this year.